Illinois Divorce & Separation

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Like all states, Illinois has its own laws and rules governing the divorce process. What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Illinois? Will you need to go through mediation before you can get an Illinois divorce? Does Illinois have laws particular to annulments? Find the answers to your Illinois divorce questions here.

Illinois Legal Separation:

A spouse can bring an action for legal separation in Illinois to obtain a court order on issues such as support and use of property when the parties are separated and if the party bringing the action is not at fault in the separation. A legal separation in Illinois does not end a marriage and can’t divide ownership of property unless the spouses agree. You may not enter into a new marriage if you are legally separated. In Illinois, you may file for a legal separation with your local Circuit Court. For more information about the differences between divorce, separation and annulment, see Ending a Marriage or Taking a Break.

Grounds for Divorce/Fault – No Fault:

Illinois has both fault and no-fault divorce. For more information about what that means, see The Divorce Process: From Separation to Final Judgment. Your grounds (or reasons) for wanting a divorce are set out in a document called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage that you file with your local Circuit Court. “Dissolution of Marriage” is just a legal term for divorce. Once the judgment for dissolution of the marriage is granted (i.e. the judge approves your divorce), you will become an unmarried person again. The no-fault ground for divorce in Illinois is irreconcilable differences and the parties must have lived separately for more than 2 years. (This can be reduced to 6 months before the final judgment of divorce if both parties agree.) Fault grounds for divorce in Illinois are:
1) impotence,
2) bigamy,
3) adultery,
4) desertion (1 year)
5) habitual drunkenness (2 years)
6) gross habits such as drug addiction
7) physical or mental cruelty
8) felony conviction
9) infected spouse with sexually transmitted disease.

Residency/Where to File for Divorce:

One of the parties to the marriage must have been a resident of the state for six months and a resident of the county in which the petition is filed for the 90 days preceding the filing. You will file your paperwork with the Circuit Court of the county in which you or your spouse resides. The Office of the Clerk of the County Circuit Court will be managing your paperwork with the court.

Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:

Parties qualify for a simplified procedure for dissolution of marriage if they 1) waive spousal support; 2) understand they might consult with an attorney about spousal support; 3) meet residence requirements (see Residency/Where to File, above); 4) have been separated 6 months or more and attempts at reconciliation have failed; 5) have no children of the marriage; 6) have been married less than 8 years; 7) have no real property; 8) waive rights to alimony; 9) fair market value of marital property is less than $10,000 and combined gross income less than $35,000, 10) have disclosed assets to each other, and 11) the parties have signed a written agreement dividing their assets and debts.

Illinois Online Divorce Services: – An online documentation service that helps users file for divorce.– Offers an affordable way to file for uncontested divorces online.

Divorce Mediation in Illinois:

Mediation is an option that many divorcing couples choose when working out the specific terms of their settlement agreement. It’s less expensive than hiring two lawyers, and perhaps more importantly for the long run, it can keep the parties from becoming adversaries. In Illinois if the court finds that there is some possibility of reconciliation of a marriage, the court may order a conciliation conference with the court conciliation service. The court may make this order on its own motion or at the request of a party. The court can also order mediation or attendance at parenting programs if there is a dispute between the parents about child custody and visitation.

Illinois Annulment:

An annulment is when a court declares your marriage legally invalid. In Illinois, this is called a declaration of invalidity. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with. If that determination would be unfair for some reason, the court can declare a marriage invalid from the date of the order. A marriage can be annulled due to a legal or physical incapacity to enter into the marriage, such as being under age, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or already married. To seek an annulment, you will need to file a petition with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Illinois Divorce Laws: Click below to find the Illinois Divorce laws you’re looking for:
Illinois Divorce Law, Lawyers & Attorneys
Illinois Divorce & Finances
Illinois Divorce & Children
Illinois Divorce Laws & Resources

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